Welcoming Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, to Nexus

Nexus was delighted to welcome the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, last week, as part of the Leeds City Council-funded BUILD Your Future programme.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, stood with Professor Nick Plant, Dr Martin Stow and ___ inside the Nexus building

Left to Right: Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Innovation, University of Leeds; Dr Martin Stow, Nexus Director and MIT Team Leeds City Region Champion; Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire; Richelle Schuster, Head of Programme - Innovation, Leeds City Council.

She met some of our region’s most innovative young people who are participating in the programme, before taking part in a round table discussion hosted by Nexus Director Dr Martin Stow and Richelle Schuster, Head of Programme Innovation at Leeds City Council. Entrepreneurs from the BUILD programme and Nexus members, Liam Wright at Innotech Insights and Saile Villegas at See AI, shared their start-up innovation journeys and experiences of accessing support through the Leeds innovation ecosystem.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire stood in front of a group of young people on the BUILD programme taking a selfie

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, with the BUILD Your Future programme participants.

Tracy commented: “Both Nexus and the BUILD programme are contributing to our region’s ambitions for innovation. Providing established businesses, start-ups and young people with the opportunity to develop an idea with academic support, access to specialist facilities and structured programmes to instil the confidence for innovators to pursue their ambitions.

“It was inspiring to hear from young people who are so passionate about tackling some of the most challenging of issues of our time, from sustainability and the climate emergency to health and addressing poverty. The summer camp is supporting the next generation and nurturing those with a passion and desire to create a better future. We need to continue to create opportunities for future generations to make a positive change in the world and I am committed to supporting any way in which we can do that in the region.”

Tracy also joined Martin Stow and Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research & Innovation at University of Leeds for a tour of Nexus, meeting some of our member businesses. Martin comments:

“It was a real privilege to show the Mayor of West Yorkshire around the Nexus building, including our co-working spaces and lab facilities and to introduce her to our community to talk about some of the incredible work taking place here at the forefront of university and business collaboration.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Meryem Benhoud, Technical Director at Keracol, talking in a lab

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire and Meryem Benohoud, Technical Director, Keracol – a University of Leeds spin-out, demonstrating how expertise within organic chemistry and colour pigmentation is being used for innovation within the organic beauty industry.

“She was able to see how Keracol utilise food waste and expertise in organic chemistry and colour pigmentation, for sustainable innovation in the organic beauty industry and heard about Scaled Insights’ interactive tool BiasProof – currently being piloted within the Nexus community – which measures unconscious bias relating to race, gender and body size, with the potential to help organisations to initiate vital change.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Stuart Flink, President, Scaled Insights, talking together in a room in Nexus

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Stuart Flint, President, Scaled Insights demonstrating Bias Proof - a tool for measuring unconscious preferences or biases based on reaction to words and images related to race, gender and body size.

“She also enjoyed an interactive “digital twin” demonstration by Slingshot Simulations, showing how data modelling technology can help predict which areas across our region are most likely to be affected by flooding or road traffic accidents.”

Tracy Brabin having a conversation with 3 representatives from Slingshot Simulations

Left to right: Robert Harwood, Chief Operating Officer, Slingshot Simulations; David McKee, Chief Executive Officer, Slingshot Simulations; Fatima Riake, Software Engineer, Slingshot Simulation; Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire. Interactive ‘digital twin’ demonstration showcasing how data modelling technology be applied to some of the key mobility and environmental challenges facing the West Yorkshire region.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, University of Leeds, said:

“As ever, the Nexus community came together to make this a truly inspiring experience. We were delighted to meet Tracy and give her a flavour of the innovations and collaborations taking place within the community and across the University of Leeds. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with partners across the innovation ecosystem towards a shared vision for positive impact both on our regional economy and wider society.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire sat in an armchair with Professor Nick Plant

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire and Prof Nick Plant, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research & Innovation, University of Leeds.